Board of Directors
Lindsey Gillies-Board Chair
Lindsey Gillies is a Certified Professional Midwife and student at the Yale School of Nursing. She is also an activist, community organizer and writer. Lindsey is passionate about the intersection of reproductive and environmental justice. Her background includes a comprehensive academic and clinical training at Maternidad La Luz, a high-volume freestanding birth center on the border in El Paso, Texas. Additionally, she successfully completed an intensive academic midwifery program in Boise, Idaho. She has served communities in both Vermont and Texas as a birth doula, abortion doula, and childbirth educator. Lindsey Gillies has been a community organizer with Rising Tide Vermont since 2012. With Rising Tide Vermont, she has organized numerous direct action trainings and events across the northeast and is currently working on the Campaign to Stop the Fracked Gas Pipeline! Lindsey Gillies attended COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico and COP 17 in Durban, South Africa as part of the GJEP delegation. She worked as the New Voices on Climate Change Coordinator and is now the Chair of the Board of Directors. Lindsey holds a B.A. in English and Environmental Studies from the University of Vermont. She currently lives in Burlington, Vermont.
Ann Lipsitt-Board Treasurer
Ann Lipsitt is a reading specialist and retired special educator from the Browns Trace middle school in Underhill Vermont. A long-time social justice activist she co-founded the Green Mountain Fund for Popular Struggle with her partner Will Miller. The Fund distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of the movement for social justice and environmental protection in Vermont. Ann is also the founder of the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series.
A sculptor by trade, Cassandra is also a resource person and Spanish interpreter for Indigenous Peoples at United Nations negotiations on the environment and human rights. She is currently enjoying a fellowship at New York University where she is researching resistance to false solutions to climate change and the privatization of the air we breathe.
Karen Pickett has been a grassroots activist for over 25 years, working on issues of forest and species preservation, recycling, native rights issues, alliance building between the labor and environmental movements, and activist civil rights. She is founder and Director of the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters and is a Media Cosultant for environmental campaigns. She leads workshops and classes on movement building and grassroots organizing, and is the recipient of a number of awards for her work.
Zahra Moloo is an investigative journalist, documentary filmmaker and researcher from Kenya, based in Montreal. Her work focuses on the extractive industries, land rights, conservation and security. Previously she worked as a reporter and documentary producer for The New Humanitarian (formerly IRIN News) and spent several years covering stories in Kenya, Tanzania, The DRC, Libya and Palestine. Her articles and films have appeared in Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC Docs, Africa is a Country, CCTV’s Faces of Africa, Africa is a Country and the Jacobin. She was a researcher and director with CBC’s Emmy-nominated documentary series Interrupt this Program and has served on the juries for film festivals including the Canadian Screen Awards and the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma. She is currently working on a feature documentary about conservation in Central Africa. She has a BA in History from McGill University and an MA in Broadcast Journalism from City University. Her work can be viewed at: http://zahra-moloo.com/
Willer Miller-Board Member in Memoriam
Willard Marshall Miller August 29, 1940 – March 31, 2005 Will was one of our original board members and always will remain on the Global Justice Ecology Board. Willard “Will” Miller, Emeritus Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Vermont, succumbed to lung cancer on March 31 at the age of 64. Images of his hero, the legendary Che Guevara, had always surrounded Will as he worked tirelessly for revolutionary social change. Che’s famous quote, “the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love,” was apt for Will, whose love of humanity and the earth led him to dedicate his life to the uplifting of the oppressed. A Karl Marx quote on Will’s website reads, “Philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it!” Will was a revolutionary who fought for academic and political freedom, and the rights of the working class and all inhabitants of the earth who suffer from economic inequities and prejudices. Will understood the connections between politics, war, economics and ecology. Ann Lipsitt, Will’s life partner of 25 years remembers him, “Will set a courageous example in speaking truth to power. Given his extensive knowledge of the workings and ramifications of capitalism and imperialism, he could have become pessimistic, but he showed boundless optimism. With his powerful voice, he was unwavering in the struggle against war and for social justice. He was never afraid to speak his mind, put words into action or place himself ‘on-the-line’ whether before the university trustees, on a picket line, at a barricade or in a congressional office. Will consistently adhered to his strong principles of social justice, progressive reform, and belief in the power of education to effect change. Will gave us a call to action and a vision of a more just society.” Will dropped out of high school to join the army on his 17th birthday. He carried out electronic surveillance missions directed at forces in eastern Europe from 1958 – 1961, an experience he described as highly politicizing. He earned his GED in the Army and passed an exam exempting him from freshman year of college. At the University of Illinois, he received his B.A. in 1966, M.A. in 1968, and Ph.D. in 1969 all in the field of philosophy. Will began his career at UVM in 1969, teaching courses in the philosophy of education, Marxism, radical ecology, and utopian societies, among other topics. Over his 35-year teaching career, Will taught thousands and spoke at numerous demonstrations and rallies. He was an active member of the John Dewey Society, the Society for the Philosophical Study of Marxism, and the Radical Philosophy Association. Will was the sole survivor of a purge of radical philosophers at UVM in 1970. Among those purged was noted scholar and activist Michael Parenti. Parenti points out that while Will was not purged, he continued to be punished for his radical views, “Though he was a popular teacher and published author…he was denied promotion and remained an assistant professor for 35 years with a salary frozen for most of that time at below that of a first-year instructor at UVM. In a word, the treatment accorded him by some administrators and his department chair has been vindictive, petty, and shameful. Given his abilities, I can only conclude that such mistreatment has been politically motivated.” In response to his treatment at the hands of the University, Will set up a web page, which posts the salaries of UVM’s administrators and faculty (www.uvm.edu/~wmiller/). Author, activist, and UVM employee Ron Jacobs comments on Will’s union activity, “a few years ago, the faculty at UVM began a successful drive to unionize. Will was an essential part of that campaign, just as he had been in every union campaign at the university since his hiring. Only four or five years before, he and I were celebrating the victory in a staff union drive at UVM that heralded in the second union in the university’s history. Will’s presence, organizing ability and fervor, and his encyclopedic historical knowledge were instrumental in the success of this campaign-a campaign that provided a voice to the most exploited segment of UVM’s workforce.” He was faculty advisor to many of the radical student organizations at UVM including the Radical Student Union, Union of Concerned Students, The Gadfly student newspaper, and SPARC (Student Political Awareness and Responsibility Collective). He was tireless in his activism and there were few progressive events that didn’t include his incisive, passionate and articulate addresses. Ashley Smith, of the International Socialist Organization remembered one of Will’s Vietnam resistance stories, ” It was the famous march to shut down DC when tens of thousands of activists engaged in civil disobedience throughout the city [Mayday, 1971]. Will joined hundreds of Vermonters to blockade one of the bridges from Alexandria into DC. The army ordered a group of mainly black paratroopers that had just returned from Vietnam to affix bayonets to their weapons and attack the activists. The black paratroopers refused the order and joined the demonstration. In that moment, Will said he got a glimpse of what a socialist revolution would look like in the U.S.” In Will’s own words from his web site: “Remember elections didn’t end the Vietnam War! It was a mass movement of people–students, teachers, parents and children, civil rights activists, union members, anti-war veterans from Vietnam and other periods of recent imperial history, acts of refusal by draft resisters and rebellion by active duty soldiers and finally the continued resistance of the Vietnamese Independence movement. For more than 30 years the Vietnamese fought the imperialism of France, Japan, France again (with U.S. financing) and finally–after preventing an election that Ho Chi Minh would have won overwhelmingly–the 10 year U.S. war on Vietnam was pre-emptively started. Before it was over more than 3 million Vietnamese, Laotians and Cambodians were dead as well as nearly 60,000 Americans. Never again!!!” His powerful articulation of U.S. imperialism and its roots won him many admirers. One of Will’s students was so moved that he donated an inheritance that was used to found the Green Mountain Fund for Popular Struggle in 1989. Over the next 13 years, the foundation contributed $750,000 to support radical social change and environmental efforts in Vermont. Many organizations received their very first grants from the Green Mountain Fund, whose principles of unity state, ” The Green Mountain Fund is committed to revolutionary transformation toward a socialist-feminist society. This society requires the elimination of all oppression… and their basis in patriarchal, capitalist and imperialist structures.” Outside of the University, Will worked as an activist in Vermont Veterans for Peace, Burlington Area Draft and Military Counseling, Vermont Cuba Committee, Haymarket People’s Fund, Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador, Network Opposed to Depleted Uranium Weapons and was on the board of Global Justice Ecology Project. We mourn the loss of this sweet, gentle, generous, compassionate human being with a big heart and boundless faith in the goodness of people. He left us a legacy of inspiration — not to be discouraged but to keep fighting the atrocious ideologies related to war. Will is survived by his wife, Ann Lipsitt, his sister, Barbara Knight of Sebastopol, CA, his in-laws, Lew and Edna Lipsitt of Providence, RI and many, many dear friends and comrades. You can visit www.willmiller.org to read and write about how Will’s life and words have touched so many. A memorial service was held April 24, 2005 in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Burlington. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Will Miller Social Justice Lecture Series, established in his honor. Checks should be made out to Ann Lipsitt, at 10 Machia Hill Road, Westford, VT 05494, designated for the Lecture Fund. WILL MILLER, PRESENTE!
Soren Ambrose-Board Member in Memoriam
Aziz Choudry-Board Member in Memoriam
Aziz Choudry, a great comrade, scholar-activist and friend to many people across the world, passed away in May 2021. Aziz was a rare, generous, gentle, compassionate and marvellous person and was tireless in fighting for justice throughout his life.
Amongst his many passions, Aziz was a founding board member of the Global Justice Ecology Project, one of the founders of bilaterals.org, and a close friend and collaborator of GRAIN. Aziz was a brilliant thinker, writer, and editor; he wrote and edited numerous books over the years, including ‘Learning Activism: The Intellectual Life of Contemporary Social Movements’ (2015), ‘Activists and the Surveillance State: Learning from Repression’ (2019). He also wrote articles on biopiracy, the privatization of nature by conservation groups like Conservation International, free trade agreements and biotechnology.
Beyond his prolific writing, and all the things he fought for and created, Aziz was a wonderful person. He mentored and supported, both formally and informally, countless young activists, scholars and friends. He had an incredible ability to connect people to each other, enriching their social circles, relationships and collaborations. He was also incredibly funny and a brilliant thinker with a sharp wit and an unfailing analysis of social injustice and capitalism.
There is probably no tribute, no words that can sufficiently do justice to the enormous, incredible person that was Aziz Choudry. His loss has been devastating to many people and to so many movements for justice. He will be dearly missed, and always and forever in our hearts.